Inflation and shortages delay start of construction of new headquarters

Bill Miller Bar-BQ is still considering moving its headquarters from downtown to the West Side, but it’s taking longer than expected to get to the grand opening.

CEO and Chairman Jim Guy Egbert said the plan is to begin construction early this year. But the barbecue chain has pushed back the schedule due to skyrocketing construction costs and material shortages – issues currently plaguing countless construction projects.

“Contractors, general contractors, construction people face the same issues with supply chain constraints, labor constraints and cost overruns,” he said. “So we’re still in the final stages of budgeting for this effort and trying to nail it down before we start pushing the dirt.”

Egbert said the company plans to begin construction in the “coming months.” It will take about 15 to 17 months to build the headquarters.

The headquarters will be housed in a two-story, 335,000-square-foot building at 5330 State Highway 151, according to an October 2020 filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

The initial estimated cost of the project was $60 million, according to the TDLR filing. But that was before inflation started to run rampant.

“All prices keep going up, day by day,” Egbert said. “To try to gauge where it’s going to end, I don’t know. But certainly, the prices of raw materials, the prices of construction continue to rise every day. We have seen this in our stores. We also saw it on this project.

The new headquarters will include a dry goods warehouse, a bakery, a production plant and a commissary. Some employees who currently work at the company’s downtown premises will be brought together under one roof, potentially increasing efficiency.

“The main driver is the need for extended space,” Egbert said.

The engineering, site assessment and architectural work for the project has been completed.

Once the building is complete, Egbert said, Bill Miller will use the current South Santa Rosa Street headquarters as a production site.

“We will still have a presence at our current downtown location, and we have no plans to change that,” he said.

Bill Miller owns two other downtown properties – a multi-story dry cargo storage and shipping and receiving facility at 301 South Flores and a building at 402 W. Nueva St. for employee parking and storage store supplies.

Egbert said the Bill Miller family – owners of the chain – and the company’s board of directors have no plans to sell any of the downtown properties. However, they have not determined how to reuse the South Flores and Nueva Street locations.

The chain operates more than 70 restaurants in the San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Austin areas, as well as five Laguna Madre seafood restaurants. Other locations are planned.

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